Co-creating an action-oriented agenda for biodiversity research in Vermont

In June 2016, we assembled a group of scientists, practitioners, and policy-makers who are involved professionally with biodiversity conservation and charged them with the task of co-creating a research agenda for biodiversity conservation in Vermont. Participants were asked to answer two questions in particular: what are the key threats to biodiversity in Vermont, and what knowledge do we need to address these threats? By bringing together this diverse group of stakeholders and asking them to discuss these questions together, we sought to narrow the divides among science, policy, and action that have at times hindered development and implementation of effective biodiversity-conservation strategies. As Vermont enters an era of potentially rapid change in land use and land cover, brought about by large-scale processes including climate change and demographic and economic shifts that favor developed lands over wild or working lands, the need for unified conservation strategies that draw on the strengths of all stakeholders will become increasingly critical. Addressing this need requires dismantling the silos that separate scientists, conservation practitioners, and decision-makers. This dialogue event was a preliminary effort at doing so.